Entries Tagged 'Media' ↓

Promote promote promote!!

In the time where I haven’t blogged here, I’ve been working a lot in the newsroom. And I have spent a lot of attention trying to hone a fan page for the newsroom where I work. It’s all about promotion… and it got a little easier to promote these days. Today there was a really interesting addition to Facebook. Anyone is able to create a fan badge. Check it out:

To me this is a big deal because it makes it MUCH easier to show and share a fan page. I tweeted earlier today saying I think this is Facebook sharing a little bit of Ning.

Let’s get real

For the sixth year, I’m holding a gathering to bring Mizzou j-school alumni together with current students. It’s a chance for our professionals to share the lessons they’ve learned when they transitioned out of the Mizzou newsrooms and into new ones. Many of our grads are also finding alternative jobs that let them use the skills they’ve gained. So this year I’m hoping we’ll have a HUGE mix of skills represented. We always have great conversations. We always eat pizza from Shakespeares.

The gathering used to include three or four alumni and we’d hang out in a small room at KOMU-TV. This year we’re holding the event in a large room in the Reynolds Alumni Center. So I figured – why not turn the event up another notch. Let’s live blog it.

So I’m inviting students to give live blogging a try during the event. They’re new to this – but that’s why I try to find these kinds of opportunities. So I’m inviting alumni who are unable to attend to check this live blog out and please contribute to the event by sharing and commenting on this live blog. I hope to put the blog up on a screen behind the speakers so we can keep up with the conversations. I’m also going to use the twitter hashtag: #realworld

So join on in if you’d like:

Click Here

Let’s keep learning

I spend a lot of time talking. I spend a lot of time teaching. I spend even more time managing a newsroom these days.

Since returning to the newsroom full time after my stint as a Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, I’ve learned it’s so hard to do things really well when I desperately want to change newsroom functions. I need to provide guidance to my reporters on so many levels. They need to cover legitimate local news. They need to find ways to deliver the information they’re gathering throughout they day. They also need to cover that information in on air newscasts. What is the priority? In my view, it should be online and online properties. But for many people who work in my newsroom, the newscasts are still getting priority. Why? Because I’m working in a traditional newsroom. No matter what, our major product is currently newscasts. I’m striving to transform and improve the many other alternate (and in my world more important) information outlets inside web and mobile tools. Growing pains.

I stood in front of a class today and admitted I don’t know everything. I told them that I’m still learning and that’s why I expect them to continue to learn. I am trying to be open minded. I want them to be open minded.

Journalists in this transformational age need to be open minded. Anyone who manages information or communication needs to be open minded.

So instead of spending non-stop time talking about what is going wrong, let’s focus on learning, listening and watching how people are communicating and ingesting information. Just watching can go a long way. Just experimenting can go a long way. Deciding new ideas are not worth trying just because it hasn’t been perfected is close-minded. Let’s keep learning and maybe, just maybe I’ll feel like I’m making a difference as I’m in the thick of my current newsroom absorption.

Playing with Google Voice

I know many others have already written about Google Voice… But I haven’t had a chance to play with it until now. I set up Google Voice for my cell phone and my home phone. I decided to call it using my husband’s cell phone to see what the experience is like. When you call a Google Voice account, it asks you to leave your name and then Google Voice alerts the account owner. My phone rang saying my husband was calling. I answered and Google Voice asked if I wanted to answer the call, let it go to voice mail or listen in while the person leaves the voice mail. I opted to let it go to voice mail. I left a quick message after that.

The result: I quickly had an inbox message on Google Voice with the audio and a transcript of the voicemail. It wasn’t a perfect transcript, but it was incredible how quickly it was completed. Along with the ability to call the phone back or send an SMS, I can even embed the voicemail:

Let’s think about this in the sense of news collection. You could have a reporter call in, leave a voicemail report and quickly share the text with the news producers or editors while placing the audio recording onto your newsroom’s website. The audio is also downloadable. What if a reporter used Google Voice to call in his or her voice track for a news package? Who knows. I hope to try these ideas out in my newsroom. Does anyone else have good ideas for the use of Google Voice?

UPDATE: I was too excited to play with Google Voice – I missed that it gives you an option to record your phone conversation. The next thing I hope to investigate is how long Google Voice will record your audio. Imagine the simplicity of collecting a phoner interview using Google Voice. A transcribed interview before you even sit down to write.

Making Twitter legitimate in the newsroom

I haven’t had the chance to blog a lot lately. That’s because I’ve been busy trying to renew and rethink the way KOMU8 News and KOMU.com delivers news to our audience. A big part of that has hovered around using Twitter as an effective news delivery tool for general assignment reports.

It all started back in March when I was at South by Southwest Interactive Festival. I had an opportunity to see a demo for CoTweet. It helps multiple people manage the one Twitter brand at the same time. To me, this sounded like heaven. The program not only helps multiple people tweet at the same time in an organized manner, it also sends you email alerts if your Twitter account gets any kind of mention. (In my newsroom’s case, that means I get an email anytime someone uses @KOMUnews in a tweet) I was very lucky to get access to the company’s private beta. That private beta moved into a public beta last week and that’s pushed me to make sure I wrote up my newsroom’s CoTweet process so others can follow the fun and possibly try it out themselves.

To remain extra transparent in how our newsroom uses Twitter, I collected the photos and initials of each CoTweet user and added their photos onto the side of our Twitter page.

Currently, the people who manage CoTweet with me are a mix of full time managers (our Executive Producer and Managing Editor) and part time web editors or newscast producers. I’m working on trying to blend in more of our traditional managers to look at ways to incorporate Twitter workflow into the daily news gathering and sharing process. CoTweet makes it easy to place each person’s initials public next to the Tweets they post on the @KOMUnews account. That helps Twitter followers know who is posting the information and it helps our brand become less vague. I got the Twitter image idea from the CoTweet folks. Their Twitter background looks very similar. (I just have many more people who are helping manage KOMU’s account)

We have many reporters in our newsroom, and I’ve decided to keep their online tweets separate from the @KOMUnews Twitter brand. I’ve asked each of the reporters to create their own professional Twitter accounts. (Professional means they use their real names and post legitimate information about their life and work in their Twitter profiles) As the reporters gather information from the field, I ask them to send tweets about their story with @KOMUnews or #komu included in the 140 character reports. CoTweet picks those up and my crew and I can decide if the information is good enough to share (or in Twitter lingo, we “retweet” reporter posts) on KOMU’s Twitter feed. We’ve recently published an internal handbook on how reporters should post tweets and how managers and keep up with CoTweet to share the best information on the KOMU brand.

Anyone who is “On Duty” will get email alerts to the @KOMUnews tweets. Anyone who is a member of KOMU’s CoTweet will be able to follow KOMU’s followers without knowing KOMU’s Twitter password, so that keeps only a small number of people privy to changing the look and settings of KOMU’s account, while many others can keep an eye on its content updates. CoTweet also makes it easy to email Twitter questions or thoughts to other members of our newsroom. If a viewer asks @KOMUnews a question, I can quickly email the question to a reporter or anchor to get their input. If that reporter or anchor is on Twitter, I ask them to reply on Twitter or using Twitter’s direct message function. It helps so many more people participate and actively keep KOMU’s Twitter account an active element in our newsroom.


The process isn’t perfect, but it’s helped us cover breaking news effectively. It has also helped our reporters share information about their reports throughout the day instead of just focusing their efforts towards our traditional 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts. After testing this process for the last month and a half, KOMU.com has launched a new look and it includes easy access to our Twitter feed. It doesn’t look pretty, but it is effective to give our most recent updates. It’s faster than posting information into our content manager. It’s faster than getting an anchor in front of the news desk to report on the air. It’s also helping open our minds to a new 24/7 process of news gathering and sharing. As I told a news director friend of mine last week: I’m not helping build reporters who report for newscasts, I’m helping build reporters who can report the news – whenever and however they need to report it.

One other thought about CoTweet: The company responds to your thoughts and questions. Any time I needed something or shared ideas on CoTweet’s site, I’ve gotten rapid replies and assistance. I think that’s pretty fantastic.

Please let me know your thoughts and if you need anything better explained about our newsroom CoTweet workflow. I’m happy to tweak this post to help make sure other newsrooms understand what I’ve been up to!

You want creativity? Here you go!

Okay — I am searching for the best ways I can help my students find journalism jobs in this challenging economy. And one of my former students, Ted Arthur, is still looking and has put together one of the more creative ways to show off his portfolio. I highly recommend watching this… But it works even better if you watch it on his website.

SUPER creative. I’m so proud of Ted and I would hate to watch him leave the industry before he gets to jump in and use his talents to the fullest!! Please share his link! Contact him if you’re interested. Contact me if you want to know more. Do you know of a journalist looking for a job? How are they trying to get the word out creatively? Let’s all work together and help these folks find a great opportunity!

Talking about the future

After working on a number of projects in the past year and trying to grapple with the lessons I’ve learned… I’ve learned about the importance of teaching and developing a knowledge of growing and fostering communities. So I have this need to bring the lessons I’ve learned into the classroom and find ways to extend it — teach journalists how to cultivate and grow communities, use the tools to deliver information and listen to people.

Not long ago, I posted a blog asking the question, “Who is going to lead the future of journalism?” After I posted it and shared the link on Twitter, I was asked to lead an online chat about this topic tomorrow at 1pm Eastern Time on Poynter’s website.


I’d love a range of people to participate — a few people responded to my blog post, others left messages on my facebook page, some send me thoughts over Twitter. This may be a great spot to bring all of those thoughts together in one place. So please feel free to join in tomorrow, May 14 at 1pm ET.

Mindcasting versus Lifecasting

I love to follow trends and as I dig deeper into the many ways to use social media in the news business, the more interesting it is to watch trends in this quickly changing world. The big talk I’m seeing right now is the difference between mindcasting and lifecasting.

Mindcasting is when you broadcast what’s on your mind. This blog post is a mindcast. I’m typing out my thoughts on these two different styles of social communication. A lot of journalism professionals who are looking at the future of the industry tend to mindcast. They share links and tips and ideas about what is happing to the profession of journalism. Lifecasting is broadcasting what you’re doing in your life. If you are at the gas station, you mention how you’re filling up the tank. If you’re in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, you might mention how you’re not looking forward to stepping onto the scale when the nurse calls you into the examination room. A person who lifecasts talks about the day to day activities in their life. Usually you’ll see these two styles in many different forms on Twitter.

That made me think about how I tweet. I thought about it a lot especially after I got blasted by a person who has been in the broadcast profession for a very long time. He complained about how I tweet. He complained about how I tweet about going to the grocery store (which I actually do on a very rare occasion). I told him he could stop following me and not need to worry about my tweets. But he just kept complaining. What I couldn’t get him to understand was the fact that what I write on Twitter is something he can choose to read or not read. That’s the great thing about the microblog experience. You can choose to read and you can choose to not read. It’s much easier than deciding to unfriend a person on Facebook. A Twitter stream is just a Twitter stream. You don’t loose any other connection with that person. If you follow them on Facebook, you also lose all of that person’s contact information. If you unfollow on Twitter, you just don’t “listen” to that person’s little comments – mundane or non-mundane.

The interaction with this person made me realize that I use Twitter with a combination of mindcasting and lifecasting. I have a bunch of followers who seem to be okay with that style… And I had to think about what is appropriate for a journalist. If I was working in a more traditional newsroom, would I tweet differently? I doubt it. I think the items I tweet about show the many facets of my life: journalism, newsroom management, higher education, technology, parenting, parenting a child with physical challenges, owning a dog, running and exercise, marriage, and you know – sometimes it’s about grocery shopping. It makes me real. It shows the reality of being a journalist who is more than just a journalist. We’re all like that… Or at least, we all try to expand our life beyond work.

I’d be curious to hear what you think – in a mindcasting or lifecasting way.

So many things to talk about

As I get closer to the end of this year’s RTNDA conference (soon to become RTDNA – Radio Television Digital News Association), I am leaving with a lot of topics that I would like to think about more.

First, I was confronted by a long time journalist who basically yelled at me for my Twitter presence. I was told that he had no interest in when I go to the grocery store and that I should get out of his face with all of my updates.

I told him that he can stop following me and he’ll never know another special moment in my life. But that didn’t seem to calm him. I got him pretty bothered and it made me wonder if more of the older journalism leaders have this kind of attitude even though I’ve offered to explain how this tool actually works or attempts to work with journalists. So I shook it off and moved on. There is a super simple solution if he wanted: Just don’t follow me and he’ll never worry about a single thing.

Another issue: Tools. I love to talk about the tools I use to get great work done to connect with my community or to enhance the tools I’m already using (like Facebook and Twitter). I need to write a full post with video and explainers on the most popular tools out there.

Also, it would be great to get a better idea what news directors and other hiring managers want from job hunting journalists. Do they want to see a DVD of work? Will a website suffice? (Probably not since there are still newsrooms where the internet connection isn’t fast enough) I’d like to interview more managers out there and get a better idea of what’s really going on.

Another random thought – RTNDA is the first conference I’ve attended this entire year where I felt like I was working with people who have a common goal: Help our industry. There are people who actually feel the way I do without feeling that need for constant self-promoting. There are people who want to help the broadcast industry continue to grow, learn and succeed. I’m relieved. I was starting to think I was the only naive person out there who just cared a lot and wanted to help find solutions and change for our industry!

Social Media for Broadcast Journos

I attended a session with Chip Mahaney (@ChipMahaney on Twitter) during the second day of sessions at the RTNDA conference.

He focused a lot on Facebook and Twitter. It was great to hear what he had to say and really reminded me how important it is to focus on the social networking tools that people already use. (I say that often – it’s so great to hear someone else have similar thoughts) You can target people who are in your newsroom who already know how to use these tools and have them help you administer the products. They’ll teach you stuff you probably didn’t know.

Facebook is savvy with its product pages. Not only does it give you the opportunity to promote your newsroom’s brand, you can get creative, promote and track the activity on your page. This is something I haven’t taken the time to do yet but recently got the support of my station to move forward and really work on building a great identity on Facebook. What’s even better, Facebook has written up how to do it. It’s very smart.

Worried about snarky comments? Facebook requires less maintenance on the snarky level because people have to use their names and maintain their true personality on that site. It’s a great point. You will see fewer snark because you can’t slam a newsroom anonymously. Your reputation is important on Facebook… so you probably won’t muck it up just to leave negative comments on a newsroom Facebook page.

A big discussion came up over employees using Facebook at work. Everyone should have access to social media. Former news director and current MultiMedia Concept Group’s multimedia executive Joe Coscia said it really well: “This is the voice and pulse of what our market is saying.” He wants to hire younger people who have the smarts and know the technology. That’s what rubs off onto the rest of the organization. His big question (which is everyone’s question) is how is this going to help the core business. This isn’t driving the same margins. Maheney mentioned newsrooms should develop a written guideline for your staff on how they should manage their time. “I don’t mind Facebook use – but I want to know they’re on there promoting the company on company time.”

The next portion of the discussion to use your Twitter accounts to engage your audience. Some sites have a cache — there’s a delay in posting!! (Could be 3, 5, 10 minutes late!) Your logo, information can pop up right away using Twitter.

Chip showed how Tweetdeck works, how to search topics, follow trends and understand some of the basics of hashtags. Twitter isn’t a big deal because it is a website – what is great is the power of the site. Every post is open and viewable by anyone else. It’s powerful as the messages travel everywhere and anywhere. You can track trends with Twitscoop and other tools… Twitter gives you all of its content and it gives anyone a chance to harness that information. All of that content is free. These tools help organize the millions of tweets a day.

Assignment editor could create searches to keep track of information in your area. It’s portable. It’s quick. It’s informative. So dang simple.

Chip is going to offer advice on tech tools later on today at RTNDA… So he wrapped up with some general tools and advice.

How To Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. Chip used this book as a great example on how to use social networking. So he tweaked the advice into today’s terms.

1. Realize the social networking world does not revolve around you or your station. It’s everyone’s home! You don’t have a tower. You’re not
2. Listen before you speak. See how people talk to each other. Figure out the terminologies. Ask questions. People love to help. But listen first.
3. Make your friends feel special. (@reply by a person’s name) A big personality who replies or comments and call someone out by name, it’s special to them.
4. Ask lots of questions.
5. Proactively manage the conversation
6. Bring something to the table that the online community values.

You as a leader in a newsroom can implement these tools:
1. Be online. You don’t have to be the biggest consumer, but you need to be out there with a genuine interest. You need to show that it’s important and you care.
2. Learn to keep score. This is for any kind of online work. Check the metrics on your online properties. Hold yourself accountable for raising traffic month to month.
3. Start small. Move fast. Start with one thing – one tool to connect with your audience. Maintain it and keep it moving. Do something new again next month. One month, get onto Twitter. Next month, get onto Facebook. Do seminars to teach the culture. Take advantage of the social networking experts in your town. (Chip’s town has meet ups where
4. Exploit your expertise. If it’s weather, communicate really well about weather. If it’s investigative reporting, do it.
5. Learn a new skill every month. If you can do it, your staff can do it.
6. Experiment. It’s OKAY to fail, as long as you “fail fast” and learn. Don’t let it linger out there. See what works and move on. Set a time limit and decide if you will move on or keep it going.
7. You can’t stand still. Learn. Go to Mashable and learn.
8. You can’t try everything at once
9. Hire people who know more than you.

Your staff needs to know how you stand on social networks. Be open and honest.